Alias Design For Inventor – Part 2

<< Part 1

One of the videos Anirban sent me was about creating a handle using Alias Design for Inventor. This reminded me of the handle surfacing challenge that Matt Lombard held on his blog last year. If you look at the feature trees of the entries submitted you will get a pretty good idea how much thought, planning, time and effort went into coming up with just the basic shape of those models.

Take a look at this video showing the creation of a simple handle using Alias Design for Inventor.

This was a fairly simple handle. But say you wanted to add more surfacing detail and mess around with G2 continuity and stuff like that you can do that quickly and easily. Take a look at this video.

And of course, if you want to do design variations and multi body stuff you will need to do some upfront planning and spend a little more time and effort.

The number one complaint from Inventor users has been the need to spend an additional $4000 for this functionality. I am hoping someone at Autodesk sees the sense in putting this wonderful Alias Design freeform surfacing goodness into Inventor. It needs to be in Inventor. Period.

Part 3 >>

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  • Brian

    does it have anything to do with alias? or it’s just a tag to make it sound more valuable,robust,overhyped,etc?!
    one thing i understood about inventor from these videos,is how you cannot rotate view without clicking on rotate tool on the side of the screen.

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    I’m not familiar with Alias. But I think this technology came from there.

    You can rotate with Shift + Middle mouse button. That’s what I do. Although I wish the Shift wasn’t necessary (like SolidWorks, Solid Edge, etc). It’s an Inventor thing. And I don’t like it. ;-)

  • Brian

    Actually you have to click a face or edge, press shift then hold middle mouse button to rotate view then, center of rotation will be center of the face or edge, not where you clicked!

  • http://twitter.com/DevonSowell DevonSowell

    Where are the sizes and dimensions? Can’t design sh*t without sizes and dimensions

    Devon

  • http://twitter.com/DevonSowell DevonSowell

    when I design, I can combine concept and mfg model in one file, very productive

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    True. Start with a concept using an easy work flow like this and then refine it later with dimensions. All in the same file.

  • http://twitter.com/DevonSowell DevonSowell

    not later, concurrently

  • Uwegraphics
  • Yadesign

    Perhaps the code comes from Alias but those deformation tools are nowhere to be seen inside Alias Design.

    *Autodesk® Alias® Design for Inventor® 2011 is an additional plugin that is included with the purchase of Autodesk® Alias Design®

    So $4000 for Inventor + $4000 Alias Design just to get a deformation tool ? are they fucking mad ? am I missing something….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vM-KUoFF0A

    http://www.youtube.com/user/ThreeDVIA#p/c/4D6F66B86CEDF0AE/25/BrW_XLbl3yA

    I’m not suggesting 3dvia but come on Autodesk :(

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    Devon, firstly, if you are going to take the time and trouble of creating a manufacturing ready model during the conceptual design stage then you are most probably not going to end up making many concepts. The point of conceptual modeling is to try out stuff quickly and easily. When you decide what you want then go ahead and figure out the details and refine the design for manufacturing.

    Secondly, the “Alias Freeform” feature that encapsulates the deformations is just like any other feature in Inventor. The features in the underlying geometry are still intact and can be driven, constrained, etc. For example in the case of the handle, I could set its height to a precise value. and carry on experimenting with the rest of the shape. If you are looking to constrain the deformations as you create them, well, then maybe this is not the tool for you. And frankly, I doubt many people work that way.

    The reason people use tools like Rhino in conceptual design (very successfully, I might add) is because they don’t need to constrain the geometry as they try out stuff. They are free to create shapes as they wish.

  • http://twitter.com/DevonSowell DevonSowell

    Nope, disagree. I’ve designed and manufactured hundreds of parts and assemblies for over 40 companies.

  • http://twitter.com/DevonSowell DevonSowell

    you don’t understand the preferred method, it is no trouble to create a mfg/concept model, its faster

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    You need to understand that different people do things differently. And that your preferred method may not be theirs, depending on the kind of stuff they are or are not designing.

    From your image gallery at http://www.3-ddesignsolutions.com I see that you mostly design prismatic parts, which is why I can see why you may not quite appreciate the need or advantage of having the flexibility of all this surfacing stuff.

  • d3print

    I agree, basic modeling and “freeform” modeling are two different method. Devon gallery doesn`t have any models which really need any “freeform” design, there was nice works but only basic stuff.
    The advantage with “ff” is that you can really do many iteration quickly, not playing with dimensions and parameters.
    Anyway, we all play like we want, the sandbox is our own!

    Thanks,

    d3

  • d3print

    I agree, basic modeling and “freeform” modeling are two different method. Devon gallery doesn`t have any models which really need any “freeform” design, there was nice works but only basic stuff.
    The advantage with “ff” is that you can really do many iteration quickly, not playing with dimensions and parameters.
    Anyway, we all play like we want, the sandbox is our own!

    Thanks,

    d3

  • Kevin Quigley

    No YaDesign you are not mad. Like Deelip said you need to buy Alias Design (which here is nearer £4000 BTW) to use it. Alias Design is a freestanding package – the entry level into the much esteemed Alias Product design suite. I looked at buying this in recently for a new start who has Alias experience. I was disappointed to say the least with the stability. It is as buggy as hell. Yes we ran it on a Mac (it was the Mac native version) but it crashed and burned then eventually just refused to start. For a £4000 system that is not acceptable. Rhino, by comparison is very stable.

    Devon, I think you perhaps misunderstand the way Alias is used. When we are doing early design stage work, often the important factors are overall shape and form. This especially applies to products that are sold on physical contact – touch and feel on the hand or body. We need to rattle through multiple iterations of a product concept and to be honest the overriding factor is speed and getting ideas in front of people ASAP. This is what Alias, Rhino, Ashlar-Vellum, Shark FX, SolidThinking and others are designed for.

    Once we get shape approval we can go back and remodel or tweak existing models to optimise it for manufacture or further analysis. I have done this in SolidWorks, of course, but it is a lot quicker to do in a freeform modelling system, trust me. And speed is the main factor. This is not to say you cannot do it in SolidWorks, it is just that it is not as quick or as easy.

    Now Deelip, there are lots of ways of skinning the cat, as they say. The example shown on Matt’s blog of the handle is a bit more complex than it needs to be IF you are doing a direct comparison to the Alias video. You could probably achieve much the same in a few features, but it would still be a bit clunkier.

    One thing I’m not entirely clear about Alias for Inventor is how it slots into the history? Can you go back to the Alias feature and tweak the shape, or is it a one hit thing? How does the shape tweaking affect history if you make changes that add faces or remove faces, so the “tag” to the faces changes? Perhaps you could ask that question, ‘cos if there is no way to make big changes you might as well buy Rhino and import an IGES each time.

    BTW did you know you can do this with SolidWorks? Import a STEP or IGES or any “dumb” format from something like Rhino, then build the production intent stuff in SolidWorks. You can then go back to the Rhino model and make changes, then re-import to SolidWorks with the same file name and it will all rebuild, incorporating the changes it can handle. Now this does not always work that well, but for subtle shape changes it works fine, and even for more complex changes the SW history tree can be quickly chopped and changed to make it work. Try it.

  • Kevin Quigley

    Apart from price of course. NX7.5 with that functionality is £15k here. Inventor/Alias half that. SolidThinking half that again. Rhino/Shark/etc 1/3 of that. You pays your money….

  • http://twitter.com/alistardean al dean

    As ever Devon is confusing opinion with fact. different strokes for different folks guys.

  • Andy PH

    …Or get yourself a 3d mouse. (Vested interest declared!).

  • http://twitter.com/DevonSowell DevonSowell

    Thanks Kevin.

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    Kevin: “One thing I’m not entirely clear about Alias for Inventor is how it slots into the history? Can you go back to the Alias feature and tweak the shape, or is it a one hit thing? How does the shape tweaking affect history if you make changes that add faces or remove faces, so the “tag” to the faces changes?”

    Yes and no. I couldn’t explain this in a comment. So I came up with this: http://www.deelip.com/?p=5208

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    … and regarding the comparison with the handle challenge Matt’s blog, I’m pretty sure that people used more features to make it look nicer. But my point was that using Alias Design for Inventor, you needed just the one free form feature to come up with whatever you wanted and change it however you pleased. All this in a matter of seconds. No need to cook up 3D sketches, curve networks and all that stuff. This is truly free form modeling the way it should be.

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    In fact, you must click on a face or edge, press SHIFT and hold the Center button to rotate the view, the center of rotation is the center of the face or edge, not where you click!

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